QCOSTARICA – Despite being on the hot-seat this past week for spending “too much time” in Costa Rica, Brian Pallister on Tuesday was elected Premier of Manitoba.
Pallister’s Progressive Conservatives,captured 40 seats and 53% of the popular vote, trashing Greg Selinger’s New Democratic Party (NDP) government. The NDP went into the election with a solid majority, holding 57 seats in the provincial legislature. It came out with 14.
The NDP is akin to the Partido Accion Cuiadana (PAC) in Costa Rica, led by President Luis Guillermo Solis and forming the current administration.
Before Manitobans vote on April 19, NDP candidate Dave Chomiak blasted Pallister, saying he needed to come clean about his dealings in Costa Rica. The long-time NDP cabinet minister, says Pallister “got caught” in inconsistencies between what he has stated publicly about his assets and what is disclosed in public records from Costa Rica.
The criticism from the NDP comes in the wake of a Costa Rica Star report which listed Pallister’s companies and assets in Costa Rica, includes ownership of two companies, a vacation home and bank account in Costa Rica, all made public by Pallister following Selinger’s release of his income tax statements and challenge to other party leaders to do the same, in the wake of the Panama Papers.
Since becoming leader of the Progessice Convervative (PC) party in 2012, Pallister has been in Costa Rica 240 days.
Pallister is listed as president of Finca Deneter Doce S.A., which owns three pieces of land in Pacific coastal area of Tamarindo. One of the parcels is slightly more than two acres, another is 5.7 acres and another 5.4.
Pallister admitted publicly his involvement in Costa Rica, only disputing the accuracy of the newspaper story. PC spokesperson Olivia Billson said it is common practice for foreigners to own land and vehicles through companies in Costa Rica. “Mr. Pallister saved for 30 years to purchase a vacation property in Costa Rica. The property consists of four parcels of land. One contains his vacation home, the others are pasture and grassland,” Billson said.
“Mr. Pallister conducts no business activity in Costa Rica and owns no revenue generating property,” said Billson, adding that Pallister’s ownership of the companies is for the sole purpose of both owning the land and two used vehicles.
It is a common practice for foreigners in Costa Rica to purchase and hold assets such as land and vehicles in the name of a Costa Rica corporation.